Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Off the Cuff

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Off the Cuff

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jamie Diffley

What a con. A rip-off. A thorough disappointment. They saw me coming all right, with my pocketful of cash and head full of dreams.

According to the advert, It Could Be Me. Or whatever pithy slogan they use these days; You Have To Be In It To Win It. Don't Live A Little, Live A Lotto, yada yada.

I'm not even sure if it has a slogan now, just Fay Ripley as Lady Luck. It's lucky for her. She's the one getting paid to urge the rest of us to part with our hard-earned money.

When the National Lottery first started in 1994, I took great pride in cocking a snook. I wasn't like everyone else. Spending their last six quid in a desperate attempt to get out of the sausage factory.

I wanted out, but I wanted to work at it and not have my future determined by a glorified bingo machine. I was young (21), and I was the master of my own destiny. I would work hard. I would toil and I would sweat and I would prevail. I would make my own luck in life.

More than 11 years later, however, and my attitude has softened. Gone is the angry young man of 1994 who thought he could do things his way, replaced instead by a bitter 32-year-old on a one-way ride to Nowheresville. And he's getting there fast.

I don't knock the Lottery these days. I don't cock my snook. Instead I part with my hard-earned cash in the vain hope that the glorified bingo machine will spew out my numbers.

But the Lottery in 2006 is a different animal. For a start, it's called the Lotto and it seems the emphasis is taking the money of its punters rather than giving it out.

As well as the traditional draw, there's Thunderball, Hot Picks and Daily Play. If I knew what any of these actually meant, and how to play them, that would be another few quid down the drain each week.

And there's the midweek lottery. Another pounds 2 and more dashed hopes. …

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